I am a big proponent of using a Neti Pot to clean your sinuses.  You brush your teeth three times a day, why wouldn’t you at least “brush” your sinuses once a day with saline and baking soda to better help preserve your health?

Over the weekend, news broke that two people have died from using their Neti Pots.  There is a brain-eating amoeba that can live in the drinking water supplied by some municipalities and, by using a Neti Pot and that bad tap water, you are delivering those killer amoebas directly into your brain:

“Drinking water is good to drink, very safe to drink, but not to push up your nose,” says Raoult Ratard, state epidemiologist for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Two residents of his state have died after using neti pots this year, the first known deaths associated with neti pots. “The first one could have been a fluke,” Ratard told Shots. But now that we have a second one, the only explanation is the use of the neti pot.”

The first death came in June, when a 20-year-old man died of encephalitis caused by infection with Naegleria fowleri. That amoeba is common in rivers and lakes, but only very rarely causes brain infections. Back in August, we reported on several deaths in children who had been jumping or diving in fresh water. But since adults are less likely to be doing cannonballs, they’re also less likely to be infected.

Then in October, a 51-year-old Louisiana woman died of encephalitis. The doctor thought to ask if she used a neti pot. Both her brain tissue and her home’s tap water tested positive for the microbe. Ratard says: “They found the amoeba, the lady was using a neti pot, and had no contact whatsoever with surface water.”

Scary stuff.

I have been using a Neti Pot in New York City and Jersey City at least twice a day over the last seven years and I have always used tap water.  I thought the salt in the water would kill any dangerous thing from the tap.  I guess I’m lucky to be alive.  Now I know better and I have to act on that new education.

Yesterday, I bought a gallon of distilled water from the grocery store for $1.19 USD.  I’ll probably use a gallon of distilled water a week to wash my sinuses.  A dollar is a low price to pay to avoid brain-eating amoebas — and I’m glad to know I can once again enjoy my Neti Pot therapy without the fear of being killed by doing a really good thing for my body.

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